Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel wrote a great piece this week on the Packers defense.
We recommend reading the whole thing, but the takeaway is that Packers fans shouldn’t expect great improvement down the stretch. After 12 games, what you see is what you get.
What you get is a defense that gives up a lot of yards, forces a lot of turnovers, and is middle-of-the road in points allowed. They aren’t nearly as dangerous a group as last year, but the defense isn’t nearly as bad as the defensive ranking suggests. (Points are a tad more important than yards.)
Packers coach Mike McCarthy predictably differs from Silverstein’s take. The coach expects improvement.
“We’re playing winter football now,” McCarthy said Wednesday. “We’re going to play four games here all in winter conditions. And three of them on Lambeau Field. We’re going to make the adjustment. I’m fully confident that we’re going to play championship defense down the stretch here.”
This week’s game against Oakland is a great test of that theory. This is a hurting Raiders offense.
Without Darren McFadden, Denarius Moore, Jacoby Ford, and Taiwan Jones, the Raiders are lacking their best playmakers. The receivers drop passes and run the wrong routes. Oakland didn’t have a touchdown until garbage time against Miami. The Bears kept the Raiders out of the end zone until very late in the game two weeks ago despite negative help from the Bears offense.
The late season Packers defense of 2010 would handle this Raiders offense easily.
This Packers group is more likely to make some big plays, give up some big plays, and just do enough to win.